GCSE English Literature Revision: Of Mice and Men: Themes

4th April 2017

GCSE English Literature Revision Notes

Of Mice and Men – Themes - English Literature


If you have been studying the novel Of Mice and Men for your English Literature GCSE, check out these notes to help you with your revision. We have put together some helpful reminders to help you remember the main themes for your essays and exams.


  • The novel Of Mice and Men was written by John Steinbeck and published in 1937.

  • The book tells the story of two immigrant farm workers in California. They dream of having their own land where they would be free to be their own bosses.

  • The book shows us how humans can be very cruel and unkind to each other. The reader must decide if they feel sorry for the characters and understand their actions as product of their hopeless/powerless situations.
  • The flip side of the hopelessness is the brotherhood that develops between the two main characters. George and Lennie have a dream together and George tries to look out for Lennie like an older brother. At the end of the novel George kills Lennie. This is an attempt to protect Lennie from the harsh punishments which are bound to come after he has killed Curleys’s wife. Perhaps it is also to free himself from the bond which ties him to Lennie and his repeated mistakes.

  • Women are seen as ‘other’ in this world of men. They can be seen to have been the catalyst for all George and Lennie’s problems.

  • Despite all being stuck on the farm together the characters are very much separate. Skin colour, strength and weakness, gender, age, intellect and wealth divide them all.

  • The symbolism of dogs in the book shows us how a little puppy can be easily crushed and an old dog is killed when he is no longer of use. These ideas are meant to make us think of the human lives which have similarities to these poor vulnerable animals.


For more help with your revision for Of Mice and Men, check out our song at……

For more revision support on GCSE Maths, English and Science return to our revision site for more songs covering topics across the GCSE syllabus. 


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